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Deconstruction is a literary term where things such as language or a character is broken apart to find a different meaning to it. An easier way to define it could be the use of irony. In Watchmen, Moore deconstructs the superheroes by turning it on its head. He recreates these superheroes where “if our superhero fantasies were realized, our world would be radically altered, and not for the better” (Thomson 105). The irony in this is that we all grew up learning that superheroes are always the good guys and they’re out there fighting crimes and protecting society and the world. Instead, in Watchmen, not all the heroes were good. For example, Rorschach “was driven to become a “masked-hero” by the neglect, abuse, and abandonment he suffered as a foster child [and] the real evil he encountered soon after putting on his mask led him to reject his humanity for his mask and so become empty, a blank onto which others would project their own fear” (Thomson 107). Rorschach’s character is the exact opposite of what a “real” superhero is like to us. Not only is he not keeping peace, but he will hurt and kill living beings that gets in his way. What makes Watchmen so outstanding is that it makes us question "What if superheroes were real? [and] What would it really be like if comic book heroes walking among us?" (Thomson 105).

Works Cited

Thomson, Iain. “Deconstructing the Hero.” (2005): 100-129. Comics as Philosophy. Web. 11 Nov. 2011
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Racial discrimination was a strong and serious issue throughout the fifties and sixties and is still a problem in part of the world today. Everyone sees this issue but not many have the courage to stand up and fight for their rights. Through “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” by Martin Luther King, Jr., it helps us to take a deeper look into lives of coloured people, especially Negros. This letter was written in response to eight white clergymen that said the demonstration in Birmingham was “unwise and untimely” (271). In this letter, King explains why the actions were taken and his feelings towards racism and segregation going on in the South of the United States.

It is obvious that this piece is written as a letter but the voice behind it is rather unexpected. Being looked at as an extremist by the clergymen, one would think that King will write this letter full of hate and angry. Though disappointment and angry is shown through this piece, King wrote it in such a way that the raging angry is hidden and the tone became calm. He says, “I want to try and answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms” (272) to the clergymen. This shows that he is a well educated person and that he will not try and argue or convince them in any way but instead, he will explain to them with reason why the demonstrations took place. Though his race is being segregated from the white majority, King did not present himself in a disrespectful or discriminative manner because his goal is to bring equality to all different races. This letter was intended for the clergymen but was later exposed to the public after getting published in the New York Post Sunday Magazine without King’s consent.

The use of language in this excerpt is fairly easy and general that even the ordinary person will understand. This letter is written in hopes that segregation will end. He explains that “the city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative” (272). They have engaged themselves in non-violent actions and negotiations but neither have worked as they soon found themselves to be “victims of a broken promise.” Promises such as removing “humiliating racial signs” (273) on stores were made by merchants but those promises were not kept for long and that is what made them bring forth a direct-action. King believes that a non-violent direct action will bring forth a “tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront an issue” (273). King does not believe in violence and that negotiation is the better way out.

Black people “knows through painful experiences that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressor” and that “justice too long delayed is justice denied” (274). King used many pathos in his writing by using examples to show the cruel treatments that black people receive daily from white people. Some of the actions that white people make are definitely unacceptable and may even be considered inhuman. King states that “when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sister,” one will no longer be able to tolerate such treatment and “Wait” will no longer be an option because ““Wait” has almost always meant “Never”” (274). Through time, such treatments become outrageous and cruel but unfortunately, during that time it was not considered illegal because majority of the white people do treat Negroes in such ways.

King states that “we should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and that everything that Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal”” (276). We all know that what Hitler did was unethical and unjustified and it appears that King is using this statement in comparison to the white moderates. White people thought what they were doing was just and alright because they had more authorities than those of the coloured. How they were segregating black people was not illegal and was definitely not against the law at the time. In a sense, that was how Hitler felt. He did not find his actions wrong or unjust when he started all the concentration camps and discriminating against all Jews because such rules were not outlined in the law. King also mentioned his disappointment with the church by questioning “where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the right hills of creative protest” (280)? He is saddened that the church stayed quiet while they were struggling and that the church is losing the power and influence it once had.

Racism and segregation in general is a never ending process. There will always be someone out there that will either discriminate groups of people such as the disables or homosexuals or segregating groups of people from their own race. If segregation and discrimination could end, then “in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty” (283). No one person is better than another in this world. Everyone is equal and this goal can be achieved if everyone will set aside their differences and learn how to respect and be kind to each other.
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David Suzuki is well known for his achievements in genetic science and involvement in environmental issues. He was a professor at UBC for over forty years teaching genetics. In “Genetics After Auschwitz,” Suzuki reveals that we need to learn about the positive and negative from the past in order for history not to repeat itself.

His use of language in the essay is formal and is straight to the point. He is directing this excerpt to the science community and to science students so that the horrors of the past are not repeated. Historically, scientists have violated many rules and some present day scientists do not want to admit to any errors of judgement they may have made. In “1940 and the first half of 1941,” “some 70,000 patients of German mental institutions were killed by gas.” This action had profited many scientists and researchers around Germany; many of the victims “brains ended up in scientific laboratories.” Even though some people are born different, it does not make it just for people to discriminate against them.

The purpose of Suzuki’s paper is to teach everyone, especially scientist and researchers, not to repeat history. Though mistakes were done along the way, many “biologists and medical doctors” “escaped by a semantic trick; this was pseudo-science or pseudo-medicine, they said, so they were free to start again with real science and medicine.” Scientists should not use such excuses to hide the fact that they were wrong. This way, they are not really doing anything about the moral implications of their actions but rather continuing on with their mistakes.

Even though I was educated on the Holocaust, it has never been mentioned that science was part of it. “We don’t learn that geneticists were the prime movers behind the Nazi Race Purification program and that the voices of opposition to Hitler from scientists and doctors were silent.” Things might have been better and six million lives might not have been taken away if doctors and scientists had not “in their intoxication with new findings, popularized the notion of the overriding importance of heredity in human behaviour and sold it to Hitler’s National Socialists.” Through their historical actions, deaths are mainly caused due to doctors and scientists not taking time to think about their morals and ethics before promptly presenting the idea.

Science should be equally concerned with both ethics and the pursuit of scientific truth. And scientific truth is important in order for improvement in our world but scientists should never forget about their morals. Also, society should always know what goes on in their experiments.

David Suzuki brings to light of all the hidden truths behind science. He makes us understand that experiments are made through trial and error. He is not saying that scientists are evil or prone to evil, they are “above all else, human beings with all the foibles, idiosyncrasies, and diversity found in any other group of people.” We must look back and study the past in order for the same mistake not to occur again.
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“On Dumpster Diving” by Lars Eighner speaks of him as a scavenger as opposed to scrounging. He educates us in what is edible and what may be contaminated or unreliable.
Through his time in the dumpster, he learned to determine what a person is like through their trash, and occasionally a find tells a story. He “once found a small paper bag containing some unused condoms, several partial tubes of flavoured sexual lubricants… and the torn pieces of a picture of a young man.”

This piece is directed to the general public in our society. It teaches us not to judge dumpster divers in a negative attitude because they may not be what we think they are. For example, they may be people who are well off with homes. And also, it could be directed to people that wants to become a dumpster diver or “scavenger,” as he explains the things he would avoid such as “game, poultry, pork, and egg-based foods.”

As stated, the purpose may be to teach and get rid of the stereotype of dumpster diving. But it may also be to inform people that most items may still be of use such as “perfectly good kiwifruits” and“…slacks and polo shirts.” Although he is a dumpster diver, he’s trying to find everything he possibly could and make use of them but there is a line in which he would not cross. For instance, he would not go “through individual garbage cans” as it is a “very personal kind of invasion to which he “would object to” if he was a “householder.” He knows himself that he would not want people to look through his personal things because he would feel that his privacy would be invaded.

Dumpster diving has made Lars realize that everything has their own value. It may not be a value to you but it may be a value to others. He shows this by telling us that he now “hardly pick up a thing without envisioning the time” he “will cast it aside.”

Dumpster diving can be a mean of survival and a good source of useful free items. Different people will have different views on such a lifestyle. Some may agree with it while others may not. After all, you are looking through trash and who knows what has happened to it. Things can be contaminated with bacteria and by digging through them, diseases such as dilettanti and botulism can occur. But everyone is different, so we should never look down on people that does dumpster diving whether they need it in order to survive or may just be something that they enjoy doing.


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November 2011



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